A series of stunning heat maps—created by a man who's probably a little better with Excel than you are—shows the places in America most prone to natural disasters.
John Nelson, a mapping manager for IDV Solutions, created U.S. maps of tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires using publicly available data and Excel—a process he describes as "the kitchen-sink school of thematic mapping."
Nelson's map of wildfires tracks hot spots since 2001, while his tornado travel map tracks the direction tornadoes have traveled in the U.S. over the past 63 years. An updated version of that map includes the deadly EF-5 tornado that killed 22 people in Moore, Okla., last month, while a new version of a map tracking hurricanes and tropical storms since 1951 includes Superstorm Sandy.
The earthquake map, using data culled from the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of California, Berkeley, shows the location of all major seismic activity since 1898.
Other maps posted on the company's Flickr page include a pre-Sandy hurricane-risk assessment for every building in New York City and a national portrait of drunken driving, using the locations of fatal crashes from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.